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Chalk Games, Prospect Place, Brooklyn

Arthur Leipzig (American, b. 1918)

Chalk Games, Prospect Place, Brooklyn, 1950, printed later

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 14 x 17 3/4 in. (35.6 x 45.1 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Rictavia Schiff Bequest, 1993-116
  • © Arthur Leipzig
  • Digital image © 2010 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama

Not on view

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Chalk Games, Prospect Place, Brooklyn

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Chalk Games, Prospect Place, Brooklyn

Leipzig has given us a bird’s-eye perspective of this scene of boys playing in the street. He probably shot the image from the upper steps of a brownstone’s stoop or from a first- or second-floor apartment’s window, balcony, or fire escape. The viewer looks down upon a car-lined street where ten boys play chalk games in the road while two more boys look on as they lean against one of the cars. The street is covered with chalk-drawn boats, waves, cowboy figures, patterns, letters, and numbers. In the center of the frame is a large sketch of a segmented circle. The ten boys playing are animated. Many are caught mid-jump, mid-skip, or mid-stride; others crouch. Perhaps they are playing some type of tag game involving their own sketches, and the two boys who are watching are “out.” The play of dark blacks and white highlights is dominant in this piece: the black of the shiny cars and the asphalt street contrasts with the white of the chalk drawings and the boys’ shirts. The strong diagonal of the street creates a dynamic composition, adding to an already lively scene.